Conference of Ambassadors 2023 in Georgia Now an EU Candidate Country

“I wish to start by saying that all of us together achieved this tremendous success this year and made one of our main dreams come true with Georgia becoming an EU Candidate Country”. It was announced by Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia when delivering his keynote speech at the Conference of Ambassadors today.

According to the Head of Government of Georgia, it is a tremendous achievement of the authorities and people, a result of joint efforts.

“Dear Friends, let me greet and welcome you all! It is my great honor to participate in the Conference of Ambassadors together with you, as it is a very good tradition of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia. I greet and welcome the Speaker of Parliament, Members of Parliament and Government, clergy, representatives of the Patriarchy and – of course – every ambassador present at the event with great respect.

“First and foremost, I would like to start by saying that all of us together achieved this tremendous success this year and made one of our main dreams come true with Georgia becoming an EU Candidate Country. It is a huge achievement of our authorities and our people, our joint efforts! I would like to sincerely thank all diplomats and ambassadors on behalf of the Government of Georgia for your hard work, dedication and patriotism. We all understand very well that this path was not easy, a lot of work was done both by the parliament and the government, by our diplomatic corps and we can vividly see the results of it" stated Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia.

The Head of Government of Georgia also noted that in mere 11 years our country has advanced on its path of democratic development and is currently ranked in Top 10 globally.

“I now want to broadly review the concrete results of our rule in the past 11 years, which were achieved in the realm of foreign policy. You may well be aware and I have no desire to recall its details, what was happening 11 years ago. You may remember that no concrete steps were made towards EU integration, on the contrary – Georgia was distancing from Europe every month and every single day. Dear Friends, it was the reality. Georgia was distancing itself from Europe prior to 2012 and was positioning itself as an authoritarian dictatorship. It was the reality when the Georgian Dream and Mr. Bidzina Ivanishvili came to power mere 11 years ago, while we are listed in the Top 10 globally by democratic development. Georgia is now an EU Candidate Country! I wish to very briefly and once again evaluate – in a few words – the style of governance and tangible results achieved by the Georgian Dream.

As for other results, you may well be aware that it was during our governance that work was launched on the accession and EU-Georgia Association Agreement was concluded with a DCFTA, Visa-Free Travel Arrangement, which was impossible to think or imagine prior to 2012; of course, the crowning of this huge effort was the status of an EU Candidate Country, which we achieved – all of us together! It did not happen by itself. It would not have happened. Let me repeat that naturally it was due to a huge breakthrough, which the country achieved in 2012. I am referring to the democratic breakthrough and huge progress, which was brought by the Bidzina Ivanishvili Governance and Georgian Dream at large, our team, the ruling party and this journey continues, of course. More tangible results are ahead of us on the road of development in our country” noted Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia.

As the Head of Government of Georgia noted, we have been one of the fastest developing economies in the world in the last 3 years.

“We – our rule – have managed to maintain peace, stability and stronger economic development in this post turbulent geo-political environment, thus bringing concrete, tangible results for our people, our society.

Of course, I understand the difficulties that remain in our country today. The main challenge, naturally, is the occupation of our territories and sadly 20 percent of our land is still occupied. We fail to enforce control on our occupied territories. Besides, level unemployment and poverty still remains high and is a challenge. Nevertheless, I wish to note herewith that strong economic development of our country this year resulted in a decline of both poverty and unemployment to their historic lows, while the international reserves of the country have grown to their historic maximum.

Of course, I also wish to note that the key guiding principle for us in the given difficult situation is the Constitution – I will not avoid the phrase – the best interests of our country.

The Minister [of Foreign Affairs] has noted and I wish to repeat that we are in a setting, which keeps changing every single day. We observe the new world order in making and we see that this process cannot yet be stopped. Therefore, a country like Georgia, with its challenges and national interests has no right – let me repeat – not to be guided solely by the best interests of the country in such conditions.

Dear Friends, therefore we see this concrete result. Since the national government came to power and has been pursuing the best interests of the country, concrete results have become obvious for our country and our people. This is the reality” noted Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia.

The Head of Government of Georgia also focused his attention on the concrete ratings.

“I also wish to once again repeat the achievements that we have made in the past 11 years with our governance. I wish to refer to several specific ratings and remind our society and you all what has been brought by the governance of our ruling party.

Let me start by saying that naturally, as I already noted in the beginning, we have had a very strong and quick progress on the road of democratization. It is not a coincidence that – let me repeat – Georgia is listed in Top 10 among 180 countries of the world with its progress achieved during the past 10 years. We are in the Top 10 in the Rule of Law Index as well, while being the 1st among Eastern Europe and Central Asian countries. I wish to refer to an index, which is utterly important for the image and positioning of our country in general. It is a Corruption-Free Index, which reflects the spirit of the country we are building. Georgia ranks 33rd globally, in Top 20 of Europe and 1st in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

In line with the Global Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum, which was published by the World Bank within its project on Global Governance Indicators, Georgia is ahead of many EU and NATO Member States. Curtailed Corruption Rating positions Georgia in Top 20 globally and 11th in Europe.

Dear Friends, according to the same report, Georgia ranks 29th globally and 14th in Europe in the Rule of Law Rating. By the degree of regulation, Georgia ranks 7th among economies and 9th among nations.

Also, Perception of Corruption Index published by the Transparency International – a global civil society organization – ranks Georgia 41st among 180 countries of the world, which is a historic advancement as well as we have thus achieved the historic maximum.

As for the Transparency Index and this specific index measures its degree in the times of war, we have reached 17th place this year, thus being ahead of 15 EU Member States.

Also, I wish to touch upon a report published by the Fraser Institute on the grounds of the World Economic Freedom Index, which ranks Georgia 25th.

I also wish to mention an Internet Freedom Index published by the Freedom House, which ranks Georgia 9th among the 70 freest nations of the world.

I also wish to say that a leading Swiss think-tank – Global Risk Profile – has published a Global Corruption Index in 2023, which evidences that Georgia has advanced by 2 positions and ranks 43rd among 190 countries of the world.

In terms of transparent budgeting, Georgia is the 1st globally. Dear Friends, it is the outcome of our governance. I also wish to summarize our performance by the degree of governance: Georgia stands out not only in the region, but among the EU Candidate Countries and moreover – Georgia is ahead of 10 EU Member States by a number of indicators and all 8 Candidate Countries.

In line with the Governance Indicators of the World Bank, Georgia is ahead of 13 EU Member States by the degree of regulation and all Candidate Countries. In the Curtailed Corruption Index, Georgia is ahead of 10 EU Member States and all Candidate Countries. In terms of effective governance, Georgia is ahead of 8 EU Member States and all 8 Candidate Countries. This is the outcome of our performance! Of course, I wish to repeat that this would have been impossible without your support. We have achieved these results together. Role played by the Parliament, Government – whole governance – and of course you – ambassadors – is tremendous. I wish to once again congratulate you all on this historic victory. I know that this decision has made every citizen of Georgia overwhelmed and we are more motivated now to do more for our country and our people. I wish to thank our partner countries once again; I thank our European colleagues, our American colleagues. You are well aware that our foreign policy has been rather tasked and productive in the recent past. I personally made very active foreign policy engagements and had utterly successful visits and meetings. Bilateral relations have advanced to a completely new level and not only in the neighborhood, but primarily throughout Europe. We have had a number of successful meetings and solidified our bilateral, as well as multilateral relations. You may well be aware that we have had a very successful visit in the region of Central Asia. We made a huge break in China as we became a Strategic Partner with a country, which is the second largest economy in the world. Development and further deepening of trade and economic interaction with China is very important for us. Of course, further strengthening and solidification of relations with our main Strategic Partner – USA - is of great importance to us, as well as with European nations and friends. Of course, we have a full and – one could say - harmonious relationship within the region: with Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia. Georgia tries to make its contribution to the establishment of a long-term peace. That is why, it may be said that we have had a very successful foreign policy in the recent past. I wish to once again thank every ambassador and Minister of Foreign Affairs – Ilia [Darchiashvili]. I know that a lot of topics have been addressed within the institution with a personal leadership of the Minister and he truly deserves gratitude for this effective management. Main task for us now, my dear friends, is to continue the track of these reforms on the one hand to lead to quick results and accelerated development. You may well be aware that we have made a number of effective steps forward for transitioning the country to a completely new phase of development” noted Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia.

According to the Head of Government of Georgia, it is the only unprecedented decade within the past 30 years with no serious conflict, war or loss of territories in the country.

“We embarked on the active path of infrastructure upgrades and development of such large projects as Anaklia Port and international airports in the recent years. We continue work towards advancing the Black Sea Submarine Electricity Cable, which will be supplemented with a conclusive feasibility study in a few months. Besides, active work is pursued in every municipality nation-wide. That is why this speed needs to be maintained. It requires a more active work and let me once again note that this prosperity, this economic advancement and development would have been impossible without peace and stability. I wish to end my speech with what I started with – peace has a tremendous importance. Herewith, I wish to note that recent history of the country is well known to all. We have had the unprecedented decade of no serious conflict, war or loss of territories in the country over the past three decades. Wars, including civil unrest, disaster, tragedies, lost territories, human migration and you name it – existed during every rule in this country. They have dragged the country backwards and we practically have to do a lot from scratch and have to rebuild the country anew. We recently had a discussion at the Economic Council. You may well be aware that we meet intensively – every week – to discuss the most pressing topics and one of the main problems that we have to do from scratch is roads and infrastructure, within every city and municipality. Thus, we have a very interesting road ahead of us. Let me repeat that our main goal should be to maintain peace, stability and policy of strategic patience, which brought these concrete results to the country. We should, of course, continue with the reforms that I elaborated about.  Therefore, I once again wish to congratulate you – distinguished ambassadors and diplomats. It is your victory! It is your success and it is our joint victory! I want to wish you success, a Happy New Year and Merry Christmas! Thank you very much!” concluded Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia.

Conference of Ambassadors was also addressed by Ilia Darchiashvili, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia and MP Shalva Papuashvili, Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia.

Participants of the event also heard video addresses by Oliver Varhelyi, European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, and Gert Jan Koopman, Director-General of the Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations (NEAR) Directorate-General.

Launch of the Conference of Ambassadors was attended by the officials of the executive and legislative authorities of the country, as well as clergy.

Annual gathering of the heads of diplomatic missions and consulates of Georgia overseas at the event branded as Conference of Ambassadors 2023 in Georgia now an EU Candidate Country is held and organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia.

Main focus of the Conference of Ambassadors 2023 is the decision made by the European Union (EU) on granting the status of the EU Candidate Country to Georgia. A two-day event will let the participants once again discuss the achievements made by the national authorities and steps planned for the future, as well as the political and practical aspects of the status, new role of Georgia in the region and new opportunities created on the path of EU integration.